Sweet peppers in their most colorful forms are best enjoyed fresh. When cooked, some of them will turn green.
The more recognized varieties are either long and tapered or rounded. The longer a pepper matures, the sweeter it will become. (Hot peppers, on the other hand, just get hotter.)
Peppers found their way into Spanish cooking, thanks to the travels of Christopher Columbus. Sweet peppers, in particular, have long been a staple in
The most popular types of sweet peppers include:
Cuban – a fried favorite. Varieties: cubanelle and
Sweet banana – cousin to the much hotter Hungarian Wax pepper.
There are also hundreds of hybrids on the market. Many of these have been developed with thicker skins, high production, and disease resistance. The “bell boy,” “big early,” and “Biscayne” (a cubanelle) are popular names for both commercial and home growers.
Most sweet pepper species are available year-round. They peak from mid-summer to early fall; these will always have the best flavor.
Use the shake test and listen for dried seeds. Skin should be blemish-free and firm. Stems will also be firm and fresh.
Depending on degree of ripeness, refrigerated peppers will be good from a few days to two weeks.
Most sweet peppers can be frozen. Slice or chop and remove seeds and membrane first.
• The larger, firm-walled pods are ideal for stuffing and baking.
• Wash and dry peppers before cutting into them.
• When cooking stuffed bell pepper halves, microwave the skin for a minute or two before filling.
• Saute with other vegetables in oil to provide color and add a sweet kick.